LONDON, Jan. 13, 2010 — -- Metropolitan police arrested Craig "Lazie" Lynch, also known as the Facebook Fugitivebecause he used the Website to taunt police searching for him over the last four months.
He was captured Tuesday night and charged with escaping from custody.
Lynch has been on the lam since escaping from Hollesley Bay Prison in Suffolk on Sept. 23 last year. He had been serving the last of a seven-year sentence for armed burglary.
The facility is an "open" prison that focuses on preparing inmates for their return to real life. Authorities say there was nothing spectacular about his escape. He simply walked out.
One of the first things he did was to sign up for Facebook. He used the site to regularly taunt police with details of his life outside.
He boasted about his scrumptious steak dinners and posed shirtless, making a crude gesture directed towards them. When he made it to Christmas without being caught, he posted, "Yes! Yes! I f****** made it to Xmas. I beat their f****** system and I love it."
He even called into a television station to grant an interview about his escapades. Initially, he claimed that he logged onto Facebook to get in touch with old friends, but soon he found he was teasing the authorities and getting quite a reaction.
"I'm genuinely surprised and shocked," he told Channel 5 in Great Britain. "At the end of the day I've got convicted of second degree burglary, an offense which I'm not, I'm not exactly proud of and I'm surprised that people actually want to follow a burglar, you know?"
Facebook Fugitive Headed for a Tougher Sentence?
But not everyone on his fan site was actually a fan. Several admonished him for his exploits and warned others not to support an escaped convict.
Lynch told Channel 5 that he left prison to avoid participating in the illegal black market trade in drugs and alcohol. A father of two, he says he also needed to sort out his business affairs in order to support his children. At one point he said he was planning to turn himself in when he had finished sorting out his affairs.
"They're not going to catch me," he told Channel 5. "I'm not going to give them the joy of catching me. I'm going to go there and give myself up."
But John O'Connor, a former commander with Scotland Yard, said there is no justification for Lynch's escape and that his antics on Facebook would only get him a harsher sentence. "The fact that he [was] taunting police is really just childish, the only person he is hurting is himself."
Even Lynch seemed to acknowledge that his actions were foolhardy.
"At the end of the day, it's my kids and my cocker spaniel that are going to suffer," he said.
His fan site is no longer accessible. His own profile page was taken down weeks before. For Lynch, life without Facebook may be worse than returning to prison.